Competition as Comparison: Sun Tzu's Golden Key

Sun Tzu's Golden Key Strategy enables you to make better decisions, faster, every day. People see competition in terms of conflict, but Sun Tzu saw competition in terms of comparison. Wherever there are two or more alternatives, there is competition among them. People compare us to others, choosing to support us, oppose us, or ignore us based upon our "strategic position." Our positions are, in turn, the result of our choices. Those choices are based upon the comparisons that we make. His system teaches us how to make the right comparisons so that we make the choices to improve our position when compared with others. Read more about competition as comparison.

Today's Article: The five keys to understanding where to focus our attention to preserve our positions.

"You can watch and guard for years.
Then a single battle can determine victory in a day."

Sun Tzu's The Art of War 13:1:10-11
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Constant vigilance sounds good, but it presents a real challenge. Though the world is constantly changing, we are often blind to change. We offer an exercise in our live training that demonstrates how difficult to see what has changed in a static picture much less a complex situation (3.0 Identifying Opportunities). Since we miss so many of the critical changes taking place around us, facing the...

Discover Your Own Power

Success is a matter of skillful decision-making. The nine skills taught by The Art of War by Sun Tzu are skills in making better choices. Its "golden key" is knowing how to weigh alternatives. This system of comparison allows you to make better decisions more quickly every day in your job, profession, and personal life.

Sun Tzu recognizes that your success depends on your position in life, but he also saw that this position constantly changes. The key changes are based upon the decisions that you make.  

Read more for those new to Sun Tzu.

Train Your Brain: On-line Training in Competitive Comparison

Warrior Class lessons use comparisons to train you in the principles of Golden Key Strategy. You are asked to make a series of choices about how competition works in the real world. AFTER you make your choices, you learn the related principles from Sun Tzu's The Art of War.  The three parts of the course cover Sun Tzu's work from beginning to end. You receive a certificate of completion upon completing each of its three parts. Successful graduates are qualified to apply for access to advanced training materials. Warrior Class Lessons are both challenging and fun. They are also self-paced. Read more about the Warrior Class here.

Try our Free 3-Day Trial of Warrior Class Training!"

Learning By Doing
Warrior Class Lessons force you to make mistakes. By forcing you to make mistakes, they speed your learning and change your thinking. The simple truth is that we all learn many times faster from our mistakes. Read more about our methodology here.

Easy Steps to Making Winning Choices

As Sun Tzu said, competition is complex but good strategy is a simple matter of learning to make the right comparisons. People are usually surprised by how many powerful tools his Golden Key approach offers, but its most basic tools are immediately valuable.  We offer a simple road map to get you started. The sooner you start on the road to making winning decisions, the faster you can improve your position. 
Read more about taking your first steps.

Are You a Worker or Warrior?

Warriors make decisions. Workers follow orders. Warriors see every task as a personal challenge. Workers put themselves at the mercy of others. Warriors get what they deserve. Workers get what they are given. In today's world, warriors are in demand everywhere. Workers are available everywhere. Worker or Warrior? The choice is yours.  Read more about today's working warriors.

Advance Membership Access
Scholar Membership is our highest level of access to materials for students of Sun Tzu's The Art of War. It gives you access to all our exclusive on-line training material in Sun Tzu's methods. Read more about becoming a scholar member here.

Situation Specific: Sun Tzu's Playbook.


A great deal of Sun Tzu's work is situation specific. The problem is that a given lesson is easily ignored or forgotten because it doesn't apply to your current situation. Sun Tzu's Art of War Playbook breaks down Sun Tzu's methods into very specific lessons. As the result of over a decade of work. It detail Sun Tzu's system of strategy into a series of step-by-step articles. Each article explores the opportunities hidden in different situations. It was developed over the years by the Institute's multiple award-winning author and founder, Gary Gagliardi from his work training leaders in the world's largest organizations. Read more about the Play Book.

Nine Formulas: Nine Uncommon Skills.

Sun Tzu's system of making the right choices depends on knowing how to make simple comparisons. Successful people are not gifted from birth. They are ordinary people who developed a very specific set of skills. Most develop these skills through costly trial and error. Success requires a least a little skill in nine different areas of making the right comparisons and the right choices. Read more about these nine skills.

Keys to Sun Tzu's The Art of War

Sun Tzu's book is one of the most valuable works in human history. It is also one of the most difficult to understand. All English translations are an approximation of the original Chinese, which is more like mathematical formulas that English sentences. Much of Sun Tzu's writing is based on concepts in traditional Chinese science and philosophy with which modern readers are unfamiliar.  Read more about the keys to Sun Tzu.

Globalization and a More Competitive World

Competition is now worldwide. This means that people all over the wolrd are being compared to one another. In the past, people could plan on staying with the same organizations for a lifetime, so they  didn't worry about their competitive position every day. That world is gone forever. Today, we have to constantly evaluate our position in the workforce and make smarter decisions about how to improve our position. Read more about why today's world requires Sun Tzu's thinking.

The Art of War and Mistranslation

No book written in the conceptual ancient Chinese can be completely translated into English prose. Most translations are based on manuscripts that are now considered incomplete. The translators usually are familiar with modern Chinese rather than ancient Chinese. Few translators understand the system of Chinese philosophy that underlies its system.  Read more about translation problems here.

Golden Key Strategy and Tactics
There are dozens of schools of strategy. Most ideas of strategy are rather academic, designed to sell consulting. For Sun Tzu, the process of making decisions that affect positions, that is, choosing responses to a competitive situations. is the whole of strategy.  The methods for executing a response are the whole of tactics. The "golden key" of strategy is weighing alternatives correctly. Read more about the key differences between strategy and tactics.

Surviving 2,500 Years of Testing.

Throughout history, people have rediscovered the same success principles over and over again. Sun Tzu was the first to describe them in his The Art of War, but the same formuals for making decisions are described in slightly different terms in every competitive arena from sports to politics. This "Golden Key" Strategy is universal because it is based on human nature and our response to challenges. Read more about how it works.

Business Games for Fun and Profit: Live Training

The best way to master Sun Tzu's methods is by using them in team exercises that address your organization's current challenges. Our live training teaches attendees to use a variety of strategic tools that produce real results.

NOTE: Live training resources are limited. Training must be scheduled at last three months in advance. Read more about our live training programs here.

Basic training: group activities in a lecture environment
Our introductory session, often presented as a meeting keynote, enables you and your group to see your strategic position in an entirely new way. Read more about our orientation training here.

Become a change master! Create more winning ideas in a day than you have all year
Learn adapting to change by doing it! Create winning project ideas by leveraging the opportunities created by the changes in your competitive arena. Read more about our change master boot camp.